My Favorite Excursions from Abu Dhabi
I’m back! It has been awhile since I have been back in the United States and had a chance to update my blog. A LOT has happened and I can’t wait to catch you all up. Keep an eye out for upcoming posts! In the meantime here is a recap of my recent trip to Abu Dhabi.
Since my day job is working as a freelance producer I get to go to some amazing places and this past winter was a fun one-Abu Dhabi, UAE! It was perfect timing, because winter was in full force and I was ready to get away.
I had the opportunity to stay at the beautiful Shangri La Hotel amongst tropical trees, parrots and the beach #heaven. Every evening I took a walk on the beautifully landscaped pathway by the water’s edge with a hot tea and dates in hand.
The hotel is also home to the Souq Qaryat Al Beri, a shopping center where I was able to find some souvenirs (albeit over priced, because they know we are all tourists). I found a beautiful prayer rug that I had been eyeing for awhile and finally decided to purchase. I even haggled a pretty good price, something I am not totally comfortable with and definitely not great at. Truth be told I also purchased a scarf from the same vendor and am pretty sure any money I talked him down on for the rug he made up for in the scarf.
Other notables from my trip are listed below:
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque:
It is impressive alone just from the drive up. I visited in the evening and it was stunning all lit up against the dark desert sky. There was a bit of a wait to get in-although we did go on a weekend (Fridays and Saturdays are the weekends in the UAE). I am told if you go during the week in the daytime there is hardly any line to get in. You do have to keep your head and knees covered if you are a women. If you forget to bring your own scarf they provide robes with hoods. They look a tad like the robes in the Hand Maid’s Tale…Blessed Be.
Once inside the mosque, every thing is done up as elaborately as you would expect. From the small intricate floral designs, gold applique pillars, to the jeweled lights and artistically marbled floors-no detail is unturned. It was definitely a glorious experience and one anyone could enjoy and appreciate.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi:
Having visited the Louvre in Paris I was excited to see the Abu Dhabi version. The best part was absolutely the outside space with its exquisite dome ceiling. The patterns are just outstanding and over look the water with steps to sit and marvel. The exhibits were also fascinating, but I enjoyed the Arabian Nights the best. Rembrandt also had a visiting exhibit on display and while I love Rembrandt, I felt more appreciative of getting to see the Arabian Nights exhibit while in the middle east.
“Souk” is the term used for an Arab marketplace and the gold souk sells all kinds of gold jewelry. I am usually more of a silver girl myself but when in Rome-you know. I had a blast getting to wonder around to all the different shops and see all their beautiful pieces. I also had a mini anxiety attack trying to haggle my way to the best prices-still not sure I was a success, but I came away with some earrings for myself, my mom and my sister. I also splurged on an a ring for myself. The gold is that very yellow color, I’m told because it’s more ostentatious-there is nothing subtle about it. It was so interesting to see the different jewelry styles and options. While searching for the perfect pair of earrings I met a lady and her daughter that were also purchasing earrings-she was looking at the ones the size of DOOR KNOBS-I kid you not. I’ll stick with my studs.
House of Artisans and Qasr Al Hosn
This was the most immersive place I had the pleasure of visiting, there was a documentary on Arabic traditions and cultures, demonstrations in Al-Sadu-a traditional form of weaving, Talli-a traditional form of embroidery and a Gawha Ceremony where you enjoy coffee made with rose water, cardamom, saffron and nutmeg. I am a converted coffee drinker now!
Next door to the House of Artisans is the Qasr Al Hosn. It has been the home to ruling families, governments and is a national archive. It is smack dap in the midst of skyscrapers and busy streets. To see this building so rich in history, among such a modern society was a mesmerizing glimpse of old vs. new.
After a 14 hour flight back to the USA, I am home with the husband and dogs. I’m slowly starting to recover from jet lag and the lack of fresh beach air outside my window-I know my life is hard. I also miss the housekeeping if I am being completely honest. I have been back a total of 2.5 weeks and have since started a move and multiple home updates-more on that to come-you can bet I have my middle eastern finds on proud display!